Eric Schmidt on Steve Jobs: "He was always ahead of me"

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Jobs and Schmidt connect at the introduction of the iPhone, 2007 The Google executive chairman admired Jobs's passion, courage, and smarts

When he went to Apple, he was basically down to 1 percent market share. Apple was near bankruptcy, the company had been for sale, there were a series of management changes. I talked to him about it. He said, “The thing that I have that no one else has is very loyal customers.” He had these fanatical people who would line up all night for a product that wasn’t any good. He figured correctly that by upgrading and investing in and broadening the portfolio, he could do it. At some level he foresaw the next 10 years.

What I remember thinking at the time is that you shouldn’t take a job unless you know how to win. I had no clue how to do what he did. When somebody tells you they’re going to do something and you say, “I don’t understand how you’re going to do that,” and they succeed? That is the ultimate humbling experience. My interactions with Steve were always like that. He was always ahead of me. When he started working on tablets, I said nobody really likes tablets. The tablets that existed were just not very good. Steve said: “No, we can build one.” One of the things about Steve is, he was always in the realm of possibility. There was a set of assumptions that Steve would make that were never crazy. They were just ahead of me.

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